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Detroit Police Department hosts drive-thru job fair

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A pandemic could not stop Metro Detroiters from coming out to apply for jobs with the Detroit Police Department Saturday at a drive-thru recruitment fair. 

Thanks to COVID-19, the police department did what many businesses have turned to and switched to drive-thru job interviews at the parking lot of the Detroit Police Department's public safety headquarters on Third Street and Michigan Avenue near downtown Detroit.

Police officers Christian Hernandez and Jessica Townsville talk as they receive job applicants' paperwork in the parking lot.

Applicants wore masks and the interviews were conducted from vehicles with a distance of at least six feet apart.

Detroit Police officers were in heavy presence to greet applicants and take questions about jobs within the department. There were 45 applicants who turned out for the Saturday recruitment event, said a spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department.

Roseville resident Justin Morton was among the applicants who came in their cars for the initial interviews with Detroit Police officers.

DPD Recruiter Jency Payne, left, and fellow officer Brent Miller, talk with job applicant Nathan Rock, of Detroit.

Morton, who was dressed in business attire, said he understands and appreciates the protocols the pandemic has forced the police department to put in place for the interviews.

"They're doing things the best way they can given the pandemic," said 33-year-old Morton, a laid-off casino worker.

Morton is hoping he secures a position as an officer, saying he wants to "protect and serve" his community.

Police officer Demeisha Fambro receives paperwork from applicant Martin Morgan, 25, of Dearborn.

"I know law enforcement does an excellent job in protecting the community," said Morton. "I want to be part of that. They do great work."

Morton said the characteristics of a good officer are someone who is "honest, truthful" and willing to "put their lives on the line for our community."

Morton said he is a big supporter of police and encourages others who might have trust issues with police to join the police academy so that "you can be the change you wish to see."

Detroit Police Officer Jency Payne, a member of the department's recruitment department and a seven-year veteran of the force, greeted some applicants at a table set up outside the Detroit Police headquarters.

Payne says being a police officer has been a rewarding career for him and has brought many memorable runs such as, in 2016, when he talked a suicidal man in his twenties off the ledge of a freeway overpass.

"It's not about the awards (for bravery), it's about helping our community," said Payne, a father of two.

Being an officer is about giving back to the city in which he was raised, said Payne who grew up in the area of 7 Mile Road and Hoover. He added that he is happy to see that Detroiters support their police department.

Like Morton, Payne agrees that being an officer gives citizens an opportunity to be "the change you want to see" in the city.

Police officers Brent Miller, left, and Christian Hernandez talk with job applicant Nathan Rock, of Detroit.

The recruitment event ran through 2 p.m. Saturday. It marks the first time those who meet minimum requirements will drive away with a pre-conditional offer of employment. If qualified, the applicants will be scheduled for their free MCOLES written and agility tests within one week.

The pay starts at $20.07 hourly while in police academy (with medical benefits offered) and increases to $30.10 per hour over the course of five years. Applicants will start off as patrol officers and can move into other departments later.

In order to apply, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have 20/20 vision or have vision corrected to 20/20 in each eye. 
  • Have a valid Michigan driver's license
  • Have a high school diploma or valid GED
  • Have no felony convictions.